Over the last five years, almost twice as many men have won Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) sabbatical elections than women, at 20 male officers and 11 female in that time period.
Men have consistently dominated the sabbatical elections candidate list for several years. Since 2011/12, only three women have ran for TCDSU president, compared to 21 men during the same time frame, according to research done by Trinity News. 2015/16’s Lynn Ruane was the first female TCDSU president in 11 years.
Of the 96 TCDSU sabbatical officer candidates who have run in the TCDSU elections since 2011/12, only 30.2% have been women, a figure that includes “joke” candidates and those who dropped out of their race. This echoes the gender ratio of the candidates in this year’s election. Of the 12 candidates this year, University Times (UT) editor nominee Eleanor O’Mahony and uncontested education officer candidate Aimee Connolly are the only female candidates, and no women are running for president.
The presidential race has seen the most candidates vie for the position over the last few years, and is the most male-dominated race. Ents has seen over three times as many men run for the role as women.
Welfare is the only race to see more women compete than men, with 11 women and 10 men running for the position since 2011/12, although four men and two women have gained the position. Education officer is the only position to be held by more women than men over the past six years, with four women and two men having occupied that office.
Meanwhile, the substantially higher engagement from Arts, Humanities and Social Science students in the elections, as shown by polling figures, is also reflected in the make-up of the candidates. Over the past five years, more than 65% of candidates have hailed from the Arts Building. Just over 20 candidates studied Engineering, Maths and Science and only three came from the Health Sciences.
This year’s TCDSU sabbatical election nominees reflect the general trends. Of the 12 candidates, Nanoscience student Michael McDermott, Cian Rynne, a Human Genetics student, and Mechanical Engineering student David Flood are the only Hamilton Building students in the race this year.
Looking at the courses taken by the nominees over the last five years, it is Business, Economics and Social Studies (BESS) that has produced the most candidates for the TCDSU sabbatical elections. 10 BESS students have attempted to gain a position, while Law, in both single honours and Two Subject Moderatorship (TSM) degrees, has seen seven nominees put forward. Both courses have seen three candidates each run for TCDSU president.
This year’s TCDSU sabbatical election candidates were announced outside House 6 on Friday. Canvassing will begin on February 12, and will conclude on February 22, when the successful officers will be announced. Students can expect a longer election period and the return of a Dining Hall hustings, after the Electoral Commission (EC) made a number of reforms to election proceedings.